Registering a trailer in CA

-- Last Updated: Jan-30-13 1:52 AM EST --

Hi, I just bought a used Hobie trailer that I will use for hauling my kayaks and paddle boards. Does anyone know if I need to take the trailer to the DMV when registering it? It already has plates and the previous owner signed over the title. While towing the trailer home, the running lights went out, so if I have to take the trailer to the DMV for inspection, I'm going to need to fix those first. Also, I don't know how long you have to change the registration before they start tacking on penalties. I briefly searched the CA DMV website, but didn't find anything (although I'm sure the information is there somewhere) Any info is appreciated.

Sidenote: I used to put my kayaks (two CD Alturas) on Yakima racks mounted to my Ford Sportrac, but it's become such a labor intensive process (especially on my back) that it's not worth the hassle. I told my wife I need a trailer or I'm selling the kayaks.

Make yourself an appointment, take your paperwork with you, if the registration and all is current, it’s a done deal, no need to take the trailer.

All the best,

can do registration & title stuff, just not driver’s licenses. If you’re AAA you can avoid the bar scene from Star Wars that is the DMV.

DMV = Mos Eisly Cantina LOL
No kidding, I was just there yesterday to renew my drivers license, there was gang banger type that appeared to have a gun in his pants sitting next to me. Fortunately he got a phone call and left - maybe he was undercover police, but I doubt it.

Thanks everyone for your replies. I’ve got the title with me so it’s great to know I don’t need to take the trailer. But what I forgot about was AAA (thanks Seadddict!). I’m a member so I’m going to take my paperwork there (with fingers crossed, so I too can avoid the bar scene!)

Thanks again for the responses. Much appreciated.

call them and ask …

– Last Updated: Jan-30-13 9:50 PM EST –

..... what steps are you required to take in order to apply for new title and registration in your name .


In our state one has to have the trailer they just purchased from an individual , inspected (same as an auto) , then if the inspection passes , fill out the forms for new title and registration , and present the passed inspection certificate along with the filled out forms and $$ fees at the time of applying .

You may not have to insure the trailer because it will be towed by an insured auto ... but that is something you must ask your MVA and insurance company about to have a conclusive answer to .

These things are what comes to mind ... a state inspection of trailer (and the "it passed" certificate) , MVA new title and registration/tag forms , insurance coverage , asscociated $$ fees .

ps. ... get those stop and running lights fixed asap , maybe no more than a bulb or short , or fouled ground wire , in any case take you no more than an hour to rewire the intire trailer with new lights ... also sounds like the existing tags you mentioned are the previous owners (now void) , not yours ... and probably should have been turned in to avoid fines . In this state when you sell an auto (or trailer) you usually cancle it's insurance and turn in the tag , because an uninsured tag/registration brings big fines ... could be similar in S.Ca. ??